Friday, September 30, 2011

Got my first custom request!

I received a tweet from a guy who saw my UW Team Spirit Hat on Twitter and wanted to know if I could make one for the Ducks?  Well, I thought, sure why not?! I tweeted him back to verify the team - University of Oregon Ducks? He said yes, and so I got to work on a design for them (see below), sent it to him and he tweeted back saying, "That looks great!" And he wants to place a custom order at my Etsy Shop!

Go Ducks!
Finished Ducks earflap hat - added
as a custom order to my Etsy Shop
Close-up of "O" using duplicate stitch
Wow, I was just having some fun with colorwork and making hats for my son to wear to school. Since he has been graciously allowing me to use his head to gauge the fit of my finished hats; I made him one in his favorite basketball team colors - Chicago Bulls - red and black. He's been wearing it to school in the mornings because its a bit nippy out there at 7 a.m. standing at the bus stop.  And he keeps getting questions from his friends on where he bought his hat, he just laughs and says, "my mom made it for me!" They of course are amazed and want to know can I make them one too?!

The red & black on the right is the one my
son likes to wear to school
A co-worker saw the WSU hat I was working on and she told me not to even bother posting it to my online shop, that she wanted to buy it for her son's girlfriend - and I wasn't even done with it yet!  It seems I can't make them fast enough!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Team Spirit Hats

I've been having so much fun with colorwork these days! I've been inspired to create team spirit hats. You saw from my previous post the Pittsburgh Steelers team color inspired hat - my son was crazy about it, so I had a thought - what if I made more of these kinds of hats?  My son gives me the ideas and I try to create a hat from the color scheme of the team.

For instance I came up with my own colored chart to create a hat for the UW Huskies:

Go Huskies!!!
Reminiscent of the early football helmets of the 1900's
Earflaps are knitted double-stranded for warmth
Made with Lion Brand Wool-Ease in Oxford Grey,
Violet, and Gold 
Learning colorwork has been challenging yet fun and its opening up more design ideas. Also, now when I come across colored charts I'm not so intimidated. In the past I have steered away from patterns that require me to read a chart and especially any that had colorwork designs!  Now that I've designed a few of my own colorwork patterns, I say, "bring on the colored charts - I'm not afraid of you!!!"

I am currently working on of course UW's rival team - Washington State University Cougars, for which I have also designed a colorwork pattern for and of course I can't leave out the Seattle Seahawks - I designed a really cool pattern for the team color scheme for them. I will post pictures of the hats when I'm done, but in the meantime here is a sneak peek at the design I created for the Seahawks team spirit hat: 

Have you started your holiday knitting?  Have you decided on patterns and designs for the colder weather yet?  Would love to hear from you, come on and drop me a comment.  Happy knitting!!

Update: Finished September 28, 2011

As promised here is the women's WSU beanie with pom pom that I designed and below is the colorwork pattern for it:

Model: Vanessa, a friend at work
Update: Finished September 30, 2011

Seahawks, Sounders FC, or Thunderbirds Team Spirit Beanie
Close-up of colorwork design

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Trying my hand at colorwork

I've been trying out different designs of colorwork. I mostly stay with two colors and I design my own colorwork patterns. I figure I should learn how to design them to understand them better if I'm going to try out other written pattern. My post New Hats on the Horizon have some simple designs I created on my own, but this one is a more elaborate design I created this weekend:

As you can see here the beginning design is stretched out - I knitted too
tightly and the design loses its look
From this angle you can see that the top design came out better, once I
loosened my hold on the secondary yarn
I realized when I started the next section of the design (the red strip) that I did the first section too tight and the hat is really snug and the design is being stretched out.  I learned to let up on the secondary yarn and weave it along loosely so the design doesn't get stretched when you put it on.  I'm thinking of frogging this and doing it again. Not sure yet. But I'm really happy with my first attempt at my own design and the results.  Will be trying it again and again, until it I can do it without thinking!

What are some of your colorwork designs?  Have you designed  your own? Would love to hear from you other knitters out there with some tips and tricks on how to make this easier for a knitter who knits too tight?

Happy knitting!

Update: Just finished September 19, 2011:

Pittsburgh Steelers inspired earflap hat
I did a little better with this tri-color earflap hat.  Colorwork is getting a bit easier the more I do it.  I'm no expert but I figure practice makes perfect!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Finishing some long awaited UFOs

I was kind of at loose ends last night. I was really happy that I finished quite a few hats over the weekend and even tried my hand at a tri-color beanie on Monday night, but last night I was kind of lost and frustrated. I didn't want to start a new project or work on the current projects I have going right now.  You see, I have what one of my fellow knitters calls Knitter ADD - I start projects that I find interesting and then quickly lose interest in them when the knitting gets too boring. So I was afraid if I started a new project I was going to get bored with it before I could finish it and would be consigned to the WIPs bag sitting in the corner, which is already overflowing with UFOs.

I know many of you also suffer from this terrible affliction and I'd like for you to join me in stopping this debilitating problem - repeat after me: I [state your name] will spend the remainder of this month as well as the month of October diving into that seemingly bottomless WIPs bag to finish all those long-awaited UFOs that I have put off for far too long!

Now doesn't that feel better?  You have committed yourself to getting those UFOs finished and who knows, that shawl you'd been meaning to finish may make a wonderful gift this holiday season for your mother-in-law or that one sock who still needs its match could be a nice gift for your husband who has been waiting patiently for you to finish for him!

I have many such projects myself and I made mention of two of them in a July post, Heat Wave?! Not So Much in the Puget Sound. In this post I had finished The Big Bag that had been sitting around for about six months waiting for the handles to be finished and sewn on as well as sew in the lining. I also mentioned Cecil the Sockless Monkey, who has been sitting around only half-done for over a year.  Last night I was feeling really sorry for poor Cecil because he'd been waiting for me to finish his head and arms for so long!  I pulled poor Cecil from the WIPs bag and I worked on him while watching Ringer [new show on the CW with Sarah Michelle Gellar].

The pattern is stockinette stitch all the way, which is probably why I got bored with him, but I have gotten as far as the decreasing for the head.  If you don't remember from that previous post, this is what he looked like before:

I have to stuff him some more before I start decreasing for the head and once I have, I will have another photo after his head is complete.

Another UFO that I will be finishing this month will be the Men's Crew Neck Pullover (Rav link) I started last year. It was going to be a Christmas gift, but because I ran out of time, I just stuffed it in my bag to finish at a later date.  Now, almost a whole year has gone by and the size is all wrong for the intended recipient and I'm not sure if I should frog it and start all over again in the right size, or finish it and just add it to my Etsy Shop for someone else to purchase for their little one!  This is how far I've gotten with it:

As you can see I'm just past the point of separating front and back for the armholes and almost to the shoulders and neck.  It would be a shame to frog it, but its too small for my four year old nephew - who will be turning five right before Christmas. Hmmm....decisions, decisions!  I may have to come back to this one because it is a lot of work completed to have to start all over again.

Then there is the Basketcase Jacket (Rav link) that hasn't gotten very far and could very well be frogged and the yarn used for something else:

Would love to hear from all of you who took the oath to finish up their UFOs this month and October!  Happy knitting!!!

Update: Finished body and head of Cecil:

Cecil is almost complete, he still needs his arms, face and tail!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

New Hats on the Horizon

I'm knitting away once again this weekend.  Finished a few hats I'd like to share:

A few of the above hats are now available in my Etsy shop - Handmade Knits by Knitter Mama.  Drop on by and check them out.

Update: September 13, 2011: Finished this hat after dinner on Monday night!
Trying my hand at colorwork - combining more than just two colors!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Labor Day Weekend...what did I do? What else, knit of course!

As the summer comes to a close, I have been diligently working on projects for the upcoming holidays, as well as for my Etsy shop.

But before I can do that, I had to finish a charity knitting quota I volunteered to finish.  I read an article about Willow's Place, an organization that helps feed the homeless in my local city of Kent, Washington and contacted one of the sponsors to ask how, as a knitter, could I help. I was asked to see if my Wednesday night knit group would be willing to knit 100 hats and scarves by October 1st.  My group has gladly accepted the challenge and are all knitting away.

Here are my finished contributions:

Earflap Hat from Lion Brand, 2x2 Ribbed Hat from Fiber Trends,
and Skull Hat for Service Members from Knitting on the Net
My designs: Single crochet scarf and 2x2 ribbed scarf
Reverie Beret from Knitty and Garter stitch scarf
Design adapted from The Question Bag pattern:
Row 15: P2, S1, K2, PSSO, P2, S1, K2, PSSO, P2, (K1,P1) 7 times,
P2, S1,K2, PSSO, P2,S1, K2, PSSO, P2, SM, K to end.
Row 16: P2, K1, YO, K1, P2, K1, YO, K1, P2, (K1, P1) 7 times,
P2, K1, YO, K1, P2, K1, YO,K1,P2, SM, K to end.
Row 17: P2, K3, P2, K3, P2, (P1, K1) 7 times,
P2, K3, P2, K3, P2, SM, K to end.
Row 18: Repeat Row 17.
Two-color Earflap Hat with pom pom made for my son
The blue hat with the red and white band above and the red and black hat are my first attempts at knitting two or more colors at once. Now that I've tried it I found that it isn't as hard as I first thought it would be.

Knitting and enjoying the sunny weather was how I spent my holiday weekend. Love to hear from all of you how you spent this glorious weekend, drop in and leave me a comment, tell me what's on your needles!